What You Need to Know About Big Rig Accident - Adamson Ahdoot

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Why Are Accidents Involving Big Rigs More Dangerous and Who Is Liable?

March 19, 2024 Alan Ahdoot
Home » Blog » Why Are Accidents Involving Big Rigs More Dangerous and Who Is Liable?

Road accidents are inherently unpredictable and can result in significant damage. However, an accident involving a large truck – also known as a big rig, such as a semi-truck and tractor-trailer, poses an even greater threat and can even be fatal. 

As a driver, it’s crucial to understand how to safely share the road with these large trucks to protect yourself and others. Keep reading to learn why big rig accidents are significantly more hazardous than typical car accidents.

What are Big Rigs?

Big rigs, also known as 18-wheelers, are the largest trucks commonly seen on the road. Unlike smaller trucks, big rigs typically consist of two main parts: the tractor unit at the front and the cargo space at the back. 

These trucks are commonly used for transporting a variety of goods, including steel, automobiles, fresh produce, and livestock, due to their substantial size and carrying capacity.

Why Are Accidents with Big Rigs More Dangerous?

An accident involving a big rig often leads to severe and even fatal injuries. Here’s why:

Semi Trucks Carry Heavy Cargo

While the average car weighs around 5,000 pounds, a semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When a vehicle of such immense weight collides with a smaller vehicle, the damage to the latter is significantly greater.

Additionally, some semi-trucks may be overloaded with cargo, making them challenging to control. The excess weight increases the risk of tipping over, especially when navigating sharp turns, resulting in serious damage.

Huge Trailers Are Not Allowed On Certain Roads

Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks are restricted to specific highways. Truck drivers must be skilled navigators, adhering to traffic regulations and size limitations. Ignoring or missing these restrictions can lead to tragic accidents, particularly with overpasses that trucks cannot pass under.

Big Rigs Are Difficult to Handle in Hazardous Conditions

Regardless of weather conditions, semi-trucks must continue transporting their cargo. However, navigating hazardous conditions such as wet or icy roads poses significant challenges. The larger trailers are more difficult to control, increasing the likelihood of rollover or jackknife accidents.

Large Tractor Trailers Move Unexpectedly

Driving a semi-truck requires specialized training, typically obtained through a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Inexperienced drivers may struggle to handle the rig in various scenarios, leading to unexpected movements on the road. This can result in multi-vehicle accidents, including pile-ups and rollovers.

A big rig knocked down on the grass field during daytime.
Semi-trucks carrying tons of cargo are likely to topple over with a wrong turn.

Common Injuries in a Big Rig Accident

Truck accidents are inherently more dangerous than car collisions, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. The stark contrast in size and weight between big rigs and standard commuter vehicles contributes significantly to this heightened risk. 

In such accidents, occupants of smaller cars typically sustain far more severe injuries compared to the truck driver.

Here are some common injuries seen in truck accidents:

  • Back, neck, and spine injuries: High-impact crashes can lead to muscle strains, soft tissue injuries, and tendon damage, causing significant back, neck, and spine issues. These injuries can limit mobility and hinder daily activities.
  • Head injuries: Trauma to the head can result in life-altering brain injuries. While not always immediately apparent, these injuries can manifest as vision problems, headaches, nausea, and speech difficulties.
  • Broken bones: Big rig accidents can cause severe fractures in ribs, arms, legs, and other parts of the body, depending on the collision’s severity.
  • Lacerations: Cuts and scrapes are common in accidents, often caused by shattered glass, sharp metal, and hard plastic.
  • Internal injuries: Powerful blunt force trauma can lead to internal bleeding in organs such as the bladder, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and spleen. These injuries require immediate medical attention to prevent further complications.

Who is Liable for Big Rig Truck Accidents?

In big rig collisions, responsibility for damages can extend beyond just the driver, often involving multiple parties. Mechanical failures and adverse weather conditions can also significantly affect these accidents.

The following parties may be held responsible for semi-truck accidents:

  • Driver: Speeding, driving under the influence, or negligence can make the truck driver liable for damages and injuries. Failure to adhere to traffic regulations can also contribute to their responsibility for the accident.
  • Truck owner or employer: If the driver does not own the truck, the owner or employer may also be held responsible for permitting the driver’s actions. In California, trucking companies must carry their own insurance to cover such liabilities.
  • Supplier or cargo owner: Overloading or improper loading of a truck can lead to accidents. In such cases, the truck’s supplier or cargo owner responsible for loading may be held accountable.
  • Technicians: Faulty repairs or inadequate maintenance can contribute to big rig accidents. In such instances, the third-party responsible for performing truck maintenance before the collision may bear responsibility for the resulting damages.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

Here’s what you need to do after getting involved in a big rig accident:

Call the Police

Stay at the scene and dial 911 to report the accident. It’s crucial to have official documentation of the crash for insurance purposes.

Seek Prompt Medical Attention

Even if your injuries seem minor, seeking medical attention promptly is essential. Internal injuries may not be immediately apparent, and delaying treatment could jeopardize your insurance claims. Your compensation may also depend on documented medical costs.

Take Pictures at the Scene

Gather evidence by taking photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, your injuries, and vehicle damages. Obtain witness statements if possible and exchange information with other drivers, including their insurance details.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer

If you need legal assistance with your truck accident claim in California, trust our experienced lawyers at Adamson Ahdoot. From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies, our personal injury attorneys will guide you through the complexities of your case. 

Schedule a free consultation today by calling us at (800) 310-1606 today to schedule your free consultation with a premier injury attorney.

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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